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Could you be a local hero and become a Special Constable?
Our Special Constables are voluntary, part-time police officers who work in some of the most important areas of modern policing. Would you be willing to make a real difference to your community in Shropshire, Telford, Worcestershire or Herefordshire?
As a fully-trained Special Constable, you will have full police powers, wear a police uniform and work alongside regular police officers and police staff, with opportunities for promotion and to develop your leadership and management skills.
In return, you will be required to commit a minimum of 16 hours a month, although many people do significantly more as the hours can be flexible to fit around your work and home life commitments.
As a Special Constable, you’ll learn about policing, develop new skills, meet people, enjoy new experiences and protect people from harm. You will be fully trained to give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to handle even the most difficult of situations. It includes learning:
about the police service and the duties of a police officer
the powers of arrest
how to prepare evidence for court
how to deal with difficult situations or people.
As a result, our Special Constables discover new things about themselves and the depths of their capabilities.
Special Constables are unpaid, but you are entitled to certain allowances, including travel to and from your place of duty, boot allowance and compensation for any loss of earnings if you are required to attend court. The uniform is provided free of charge and includes kit such as radio, baton, handcuffs and Body Worn Video to help keep you safe.
The experience gained as a Special Constable is invaluable and can be a great stepping stone for furthering your career, whether in the police or developing your role elsewhere. Many new Special Constables hope to move on to become a regular police officer, either with West Mercia Police or with another UK force.
Being a Special Constable is a long-term commitment: there are several Special Constables in West Mercia Police who have completed over ten years' service and have made a real difference to people’s lives.
Roles and responsibilities
Special Constables work across a variety of policing teams, and when fully-trained can do everything that a regular police officer does, including:
patrols on foot and in police vehicles
searching people, vehicles and premises
investigating crime, arresting suspects and taking statements from witnesses
policing major events, such as festivals, marches and football matches
tackling local issues, such as anti-social behaviour and harassment.
After initial training, you’ll be attached to a Tutor Constable for approximately 9-12 months. During this time, you will complete a personal development portfolio covering various aspects of policing, and you are then signed off for independent patrol.
For those officers who commit the time and dedication, there are many opportunities available, and you are able to apply to work with the following teams when vacancies are available:
Patrol: these are the frontline, uniformed teams that respond to 999 and 101 calls, as well as proactively patrolling and dealing with any crimes they come across.
Safer Neighbourhoods Teams: these teams are based at local police stations across the West Mercia policing area. They deal with community issues, anti-social behaviour and long-term problems in specific areas.
Operational Policing Units: these contain Roads Policing Officers working on the frontline, as well as being deployed with pre-planned operations.
Police Support Units: these are the public order units that support other police services at football matches, protests and marches. They also respond to incidents of major disorder.
Training and development
Learning and Development Trainers provide the necessary knowledge and understanding to meet the needs of the organisation and that of the College of Policing.
West Mercia Police values diversity and recognises that people with a variety of skills, attitudes and experiences, from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, bring fresh ideas and perspectives to policing. We are committed to fostering a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve, and encourage individuals from under-represented groups and communities to join us. To find out more, read about how our Positive Action programme supports applications from all under-represented groups, encompassing gender, people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME), disability and sexual orientation, or email our Positive Action team.
The information below details the basic eligibility criteria for Special Constables. Every circumstance is unique to each person of course, so if you have any queries about this information please get in touch with the Special Constabulary Recruitment Team.
To be eligible for appointment you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and other foreign nationals are also eligible but only if they are resident in the UK free of restrictions.
If you have recently resided abroad we need to be able to check your previous three years, including employment, education and/or residency.
Applicants must be in good health, of sound constitution and able both physically and mentally to perform the duties of a Special Constable once appointed. The Home Office guidance states that applicants must have a body mass index (BMI) between 18-30.
Successful applicants will be asked prior to appointment to complete a medical questionnaire and an eyesight test.
The Police Service has a policy of prohibiting any of their officers, staff or volunteers from becoming members of the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 or the National Front, whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality. If you are a member of the BNP or similar, your application will be rejected.
Convictions or cautions will not necessarily preclude you from appointment. It will depend on their nature and the circumstances of the offence. Failure to disclose convictions or cautions will, however, result in your application being refused.
Certain occupations may preclude applicants from becoming special constables, for example neighbourhood and street wardens and other uniformed patrol wardens, and those involved in the administration of the law. Other roles which are precluded include security occupations which hold a Security Industry Association (SIA) licence.
Special Constables are in a privileged position with regard to access to information and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption. Applicants to the Police Service should not therefore be under pressure from undischarged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly. Most applicants have debts, such as mortgages, undischarged student or other loans, and credit/store cards. Debts which are within your means and are manageable are not a bar to appointment.
Applicants who have existing County Court judgements outstanding against then or have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have not been discharged will not be considered.
Applicants who have discharged County Court judgements may be considered.
Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have been discharged will only be considered after three years from discharge of the debt.
Applicants who are the subject of a current individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) may not be considered.
Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the Police Service. It depends on their size, nature and location. If you have tattoos on your face, neck, forearms or hands you will be asked to provide at least two photographs of each tattoo.
Tattoos are unacceptable if they:
undermine the dignity and authority of the office of constable
could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or invite provocation
are garish or numerous or particularly prominent
indicate unacceptable attitudes towards women, minority groups or any other section of the community
indicate alignment with a particular group that could give offence to members of the public or colleagues
are considered to be discriminatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating